Sunday, March 23, 2008

A guilt-free Easter

A friend invited me to attend a worship session today. She knows I left my religion and has been supportive. But I haven't told her--I don't consider myself a Christian anymore. I read the book
Liberating the Gospels: Reading the Bible with Jewish Eyes by John Shelby Spong and his arguement is that the Gospels are a Hermenutic writing taking bits and pieces from the Old Testament and wrapping those stories and 'prophecies' around Jesus 'Christ'. I was learning about qualitative research methods and hermenutics in Graduate School shortly before I read this book. I found Spong's arguments very compelling, and it lifted a great burden from my mind too.

Jesus did NOT die and atone for my sins. Whew! What a relief. I don't have to feel guilty because I exist. It's pretty sick when your mere existence is the cause of another person's death/murder. You can never clear your conscious of that kind of guilt. I found Spong's book to be helpful in my process of letting go. I realized that everything else built on the gospels (i.e. churches, the Book of Mormon, etc) was basically bogus because the gospels AREN'T literal history. Understanding that, I was able to let go of a lot of things. There is still work to be done, but that dismantled layers of dogmatic beliefs. Happy letting go!

1 comment:

iletitgo said...

Someone noticed this blog and wanted to comment but didn't have a google account. I'm posting those comments here. And I've changed the settings so you shouldn't need a google account to comment.
"I agree that Spong's arguments can be attractive. I was also raised in a guilt-ridden religious environment where we were often told, "YOU are the unknown soldier who peirced Jesus' side" and "even if no one else was ever born, Jesus would still have had to die because of YOU." It was agonizing and confusing as a child to hear these messages.

It wasn't until well into adulthood that I began considering scripture differently and realized that the risen Christ is NOT about guilt and that misrepresenting it as such as blasphemy. I do believe that Jesus died so that I can have eternal life, but I don't feel guilt over it for two reasons: 1) It was what he came here to do - his purpose. 2) He did it for "the joy that was set before him" - in other words, he wanted to do it. When we forget to tell our children these truths, we forget the most important part of the gospel message - that love is indeed "a better way."

Maybe these sound like lame ideas, but they were much easier for me to understand once I had children. I sacrifice bits and peices of myself every day for them and counter to our culture of "extreme self-care" I consider it a joy to do so. I would gladly give up my life so my child can have full and abundant lives. I consider it a priviledge.

Hang in there - You are on an exciting journey and I wish you the very best! ;-)"